Bacon Wrapped Meatballs are the perfect two-bite appetizer! They’re easy to make, and they’re delicious dunked in ketchup or bbq sauce.
Bacon makes everything better, and these Bacon Wrapped Meatballs are no exception! At about one inch around, they’re an easy bite-size appetizer that everyone will love.
I love serving these with a small bowl of ketchup and/or bbq sauce for dunking.
The toothpicks help the bacon stay on the meatball while baking in the oven, and they have the added benefit of being a handy pick-up tool so everyone can dig right in.
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Choosing the right bacon
There are so many varieties of bacon available—low sodium, thick, extra thick, hickory smoked, hardwood smoked, center cut, and even turkey bacon.
The key to this recipe is choosing a regular cut (not thick cut) pork bacon. Mine was labeled “regular cut”. It’s up to you if you want to choose low-sodium or a particular smoked bacon.
I don’t recommend using thick cut bacon, which won’t get crispy before the meatballs dry out. And definitely don’t use turkey bacon—that will dry out way too quickly as the meatballs bake!
Regular cut bacon also ensures that the meatballs are easy to roll (thick cut is just too thick). The same goes when you’re making other bacon wrapped appetizers, like Boozy Bacon Wrapped Dates. Regular cut bacon all the way!
Preparing the pan
This recipe uses both 80% lean ground beef (also known as ground chuck) and 12 slices of bacon. Between the two of them, they make a lot of drippings while baking in the oven!
I recommend lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil first to catch most of the grease. It makes it SO much easier to wash the pan!
I also recommend using a wire rack that sits on top of the baking sheet (mine is a sheet pan + wire rack combo from USA Pan). The wire rack allows air to circulate around the appetizers, and the bacon will cook more evenly.
Here’s what you need to make this recipe:
- 80% lean ground beef is also known as ground chuck. Don’t use 85% or 90% lean beef here—it will dry out in the oven.
- You’ll need 12 slices of regular-cut bacon, which is approximately ¾ of a pound.
- An egg holds the beef together into meatballs.
- Ketchup and nutmeg add flavor and the salt enhances all of the flavors. Don’t skip the salt!
How to make bacon wrapped meatballs
Start by lining a sheet pan with aluminum foil. It makes clean-up so much easier! If you have one, place a wire rack over the top of the foil. I used a sheet pan + wire rack combo from USA Pan. This ensures that the bacon cooks evenly.
Next, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the ground beef, egg, ketchup, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Mix gently with your hands to combine.
Prepare a workspace to roll the meatballs (I used a large cutting board). Cut the bacon slices in half, and roll the meat mixture into 1-inch balls.
Roll each meatball in a half slice of bacon, and secure the bacon with a toothpick. The toothpick is definitely necessary here—otherwise the bacon will come unwrapped in the oven.
Place the bacon wrapped meatballs on a wire rack. Make sure that they are not touching each other, which can also cause the bacon to cook unevenly.
Bake the meatballs for one hour, or until the bacon is golden and crispy.
Be VERY careful when removing the pan from the oven. There will be hot grease on the bottom of the pan, to make sure that you use two steady hands with oven mitts on to remove it. (I LOVE my Ove Glove for taking anything out of the oven—mine is at least 15 years old and still going strong!).
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe does not have any gluten-containing ingredients. Be sure to check the label on the bacon to ensure that it does not contain gluten, if that is important to you.
This recipe does not have any dairy-containing ingredients.
If you don’t have nutmeg, just leave it out. Nutmeg adds a warm, nutty flavor to the finished dish, but it’s not absolutely essential—they will still be good without it.
80% lean beef (also known as ground chuck) is best for meatballs. The fat content ensures that the meatballs stay juicy while they bake in the oven.
Regular-cut pork bacon is best for wrapping around meatballs. It gets nice and crisp in the oven, and it’s just the right thickness to ensure that the meatballs don’t dry out while the bacon gets crispy.
Make it ahead
To make this dish ahead, form the meatballs and wrap them in bacon, then place them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. They will last up to one day this way.
When you’re ready to bake them, place the wrapped meatballs on a baking sheet, and place in a preheated oven.
To reheat already cooked bacon wrapped meatballs, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 7–8 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven, or until they are warmed through. Serve while warm.
The toothpicks give the meatballs the perfect “handle” for serving them, so you don’t need any utensils! Serve the meatballs with a side of ketchup and/or bbq sauce for dipping.
If you’re a fan of meatballs, don’t miss this 3-ingredient recipe for Crockpot BBQ Meatballs!
Need more inspiration? Check out these 20 recipes for Little Smokies, including pigs in a blanket, bbq glazed smokies, crockpot recipes, and more!
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
Bacon Wrapped Meatballs
- 1¼ lb 80% lean ground beef (also labeled ground chuck)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 12 slices regular-cut bacon (this is about ¾ of a pound or 12 ounces)
- To serve: ketchup and/or bbq sauce for dipping
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, and place a wire rack on top. Lightly spray the wire rack with cooking spray.
- Place the ground beef, egg, ketchup, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Mix very gently with your hands, just until combined. Form the mixture into 24 one-inch balls.
- Cut the bacon slices in half. Place a meatball on a half-slice of bacon, and roll the bacon around the meatball. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining bacon and meatballs.
- Place the bacon wrapped meatballs on the wire rack fitted over the sheet pan. Bake for one hour, or until the bacon is crisp.
- Serve with ketchup or bbq sauce for dipping.